May. 29, 2024

Reflections From the Road: The 2024 YL Ventures Breakfast Club

By Gal Spiner Abramovich

We recently hosted the inaugural YL Ventures Breakfast Club—a US tour aimed at bringing together our early-stage portfolio companies and top-tier global security leaders, hosted in partnership with our valued friends at AWS, Deloitte, Boston Meridian, and Valley Commercial Banking. Spanning Palo Alto, Seattle, and NYC, the program included enriching sessions and workshops to give back to the CISO community, as well as pitches by our participating portfolio companies: Aim, Eureka, Gutsy, Miggo, Opus, Piiano, and a stealth-mode DLP company.

Open Modal

One of the more remarkable qualities of our network at YL Ventures is the number of cybersecurity professionals and industry luminaries passionate about the early adoption of innovative security solutions. While every CISO values emerging technologies, a select group in our industry focuses on these solutions as they consider the threats and risks around the corner and actively evangelize them in the market. Such a group of early adopters and industry leaders took part in the first YL Ventures Innovation Roadshow – a US tour led by the YL Ventures team and several of our most groundbreaking young startups, in partnership with our valued friends at AWS, Deloitte, Boston Meridian, and Valley Bank.


Spanning three cities in the US – Palo Alto, Seattle and New York City – our main goal for these events was to connect young cybersecurity entrepreneurs to the top tier of global cybersecurity, on a personal level. Our second priority for the YLV Roadshow was to give back to the CISO community. As potential customers and industry leaders, CISOs are constantly pitched to and inundated with demos and decks at conferences and get-togethers. We wanted to provide them with a different type of experience, one which would also inform their potential entrepreneurial aspirations as they navigate their career paths. An important part of our program at each venue included insightful talks and interactive workshops on professional development for CISOs, startup investing, the art of leadership, the power of advisory roles, working with the board and relationship-building with cybersecurity startups. The roadshow format allowed us to “talk shop” but also share experiences relating to day-to-day CISO concerns and challenges, in a close and professional setting. 


Leading these enriching discussions were two inspirational security leaders from AWS –  Tom Killalea – VP of Technology at Amazon, the company’s first CISO and an industry veteran, and Bill Shinn – Senior Principal Architect at AWS Security, Brian Lozada – longtime YL Ventures advisor and Director of GME Technology at Amazon, alongside two of cybersecurity’s most well-known professionals and YL Ventures team members – Justin Somaini (Partner and former CISO of global giants Unity, SAP, Yahoo! and Symantec) and Andy Ellis (Operating Partner and former CSO of Akamai). These heavyweights have the experience to know that CISOs bear the brunt of decision-making when it comes to building their companies’ security stacks, and exposure to early stage cybersecurity innovation can help them keep abreast of the latest technological developments and understand from close proximity what the most cutting edge startups are up to.


Speaking of startups, on the innovation end of our roadshow, 7 of our youngest portfolio companies highlighted their cutting-edge solutions: Aim, Eureka, Gutsy, Miggo, Opus, Piiano and one startup in the DLP space is still in stealth mode. For startups at these most nascent stages of company building, connections with potential customers – especially during a period of economic slowdown – are crucial. Putting these founders in the forefront and providing an intimate, unconventional format for one-on-one conversations was incredibly rewarding. We saw budding relationships between our founders and our carefully curated list of guests, with discussions on market shifts, industry trends and even mentoring on product development plans for future cooperation and demos. For our founders, these interactions with the industry’s leading security practitioners had a tangible impact on their product development and Go-to-Market strategies. They provided them with insights from the customer’s perspective at a crucial time in their roadmap. 


The YL Ventures portfolio includes promising category-leading startups and award-winning companies, and it was a true joy to expose the industry to several of our top-tier talents who are driving the new wave of cybersecurity innovation. With such a successful inaugural run, we’ll be sure to update you on the dates and (new!) locations as we expand this initiative. CISOs and security practitioners who missed out this time and would like to join our future events – feel free to contact us and reserve your spot!